A map of the research on IiFS
Luis Felipe Bartolo Alegre (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos)

part of: Inconsistency in Factual Science
December 10, 2019, 4:30am - 5:00am
Brazilian Academy of Philosophy

Institute of Philosophy of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro

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Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos

Topic areas


Studies on inconsistency in factual science can be divided according to a classification of inconsistencies advanced by [3], [1, pp.95–96] and [4, p.144].

Factual: Inconsistencies between a theory and data or observation; i.e. “mean beliefs, opinions, theories that are held to be true even though there are facts which contradict them” [3, p.488].

External: Inconsistencies between theories that describe the same system and that “attribute different natures to the same thing or arrive at different conclusions about it” [3, p.484].

Internal: That characterize those theories that imply contradictory statements.

Traditional epistemologists have always regarded any of these types of inconsistency as problematic, which made them hold the following theses:

• If a theory is inconsistency with data, the it’s false.

• If two theories contradict each other, at least one of them is false.

• An internally inconsistent theory is trivial and, hence, useless.

Davey [2] calls counter-tradition to the programme – often associated to paraconsistent logic – that dispute these theses. In this lecture I present a review of the most important studies on inconsistency in factual science by traditional and counter-traditional epistemologists. The lecture will be divided in three sections corresponding (mainly) to the previous classification of inconsistencies.


[1] T. Bartelborth, “Kann es rational sein, eine inkonsistente Theorie zu akzeptieren?”, Philosophia Naturalis, 26 (1989), pp.91–120.

[2] K. Davey, “Can good science be logically inconsistent?”, Synthese, 191(13) (2014), pp.3009–3026.

[3] R. Gotesky, “The uses of Inconsistency”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 28(4) (1968), pp.471–500.

[4] G. Priest, Doubt Truth to be a Liar, Clarendon Press, 2006.

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